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Veg Street by Naomi Schillinger

I was delighted last week when I received a book through the post. It was fellow blogger Out of my Shed’s first book and Naomi had kindly sent me a copy. I’ve known for a while now that Naomi was writing a book and I had the chance to meet her a month or so ago, so I was excited to see the finished product.

It has been a hectic week and I already have a stash of books beside my bed which I have read a couple of chapters of and then never got back to them. Anyway, I finally got the chance to sit down and peruse Veg Street. If anyone follows Naomi’s blog they will know that it not only features great growing tips but also lots of inspiring stories about community growing. It was her own experience of getting people involved in growing, in the area around her home in London, that inspired this book. I’ve often read Naomi’s posts and thought how amazing it would be to live somewhere where people are brought together through plants. What started with some packets of seeds is now over a hundred neighbours growing fruit, vegetables and flowers in gardens, window boxes and even the ground around the base of trees.

Veg Street shows just how much you can grow, particularly when space is tight. The book covers most of the popular crops, although, as Naomi says, it is not a definitive guide. It is about inspiring people to see their local community in a different way and what is possible when people come together. Although the book is written about an urban area there’s no reason why the ideas in it can’t be applied anywhere, even if you live suburbia or a small, rural village. I found the book easy to navigate and was informative. Some gardening books can be off-putting to beginners because of the amount of information but I thought Naomi pitched it just right.

Not only did Naomi write the book but she also took the photos. They certainly seem a happy bunch of people and it’s great to see young and old alike united by plants.

The book is divided into months, with guides of what seeds to sow and tasks to be getting on with. It’s the perfect book for anyone thinking of starting up something similar. I’ve just joined my allotment committee and there’s a feeling that the allotment site needs invigorating. The passion for growing your own seems to have waned in my village. There are no families on the allotment site and I’m the youngest there by about 20 years. It’s a real shame and if the future of the allotments is to be safeguarded we need to encourage younger people on to the site. The other problem is that the site is divided into two by a road and the two sides rarely mix. There are ideas in Naomi’s book that I’m hoping we can use over the next few years to make the allotments a more welcoming and social place to be. There’s a section at the back of the book which gives advice on how to set up a ‘constituted group’ and tips throughout the book on how to get help and funding from your local council.

Hopefully, Veg Street will inspire more people to transform their neighbourhoods into bountiful and blossoming places to be.

Veg Street is available to buy from the 7th March.